Vitamin D and Cancer

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

APRIL 05, 2017

You may be aware that there is some suggestion that adequate Vitamin D levels may be an important way to reduce cancer risk. Whenever there is some idea about risk reduction, the corollary is always a question as to whether X might also reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. As far as I know, there is nothing to suggest this re Vitamin D.

However, we can wonder. And we surely know that we New Englanders often/usually have poor Vitamin D levels as we go through long months of cold and gray and early darkness. I was rather surprised a few years ago to have my Vitamin D levels tested for the first time and to find they were very low. Since then, I have taken a daily supplement, and they are back to normal.

From Medpage comes this information:

Vitamin D and Cancer: Still No Clear Answers
— Cancer risk in older women no lower with supplements

Four years of supplemental vitamin D and calcium did not reduce the risk of cancer in healthy postmenopausal women, a randomized, placebo-controlled trial showed.
The data showed that 3.89% of the supplement group and 5.58% of the placebo group had a new cancer diagnosis. By Kaplan-Meier analysis, the supplement group had a 4-year cancer incidence of 0.042 versus 0.060 for the placebo group. Neither difference attained statistical significance, reported Joan Lappe, PhD, RN, of Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and colleagues.
Two post hoc analyses showed significant inverse associations between vitamin D and cancer incidence. One analysis excluded study participants who died, developed cancer, or withdrew from the study before completing a year of follow-up. The second compared the achieved serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25[OH]D) level and cancer incidence, they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Calling for additional research to clarify the relationship between vitamin D and cancer risk, the authors offered one potential explanation for the study's failure to show a clear cancer benefit from vitamin D supplementation.

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Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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